Posted: Thursday, May 19, 2022. 7:09 pm CST.
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Michelle Wingshan Kwan appeared before a US Senate Committee yesterday as Joe Biden’s nominee for Ambassador to Belize. Biden nominated Kwan for the post last December.
The Senate hearing continues but once accepted, Kwan will succeed Carlos Moreno who served as US Ambassador to Belize from 2014 to 2017. At present Chargé d’Affaires Leyla Moses-Ones oversees the operations at the US Embassy.
Born July 7, 1980, in Torrance, California, Michelle Kwan is a five-time world champion figure skater and two-time Olympic medalist.
She worked at the US Department of State as a senior advisor and public diplomacy envoy with the Department of state in the United States.
“While we work with Belize to confront the challenges the country faces, we should also seize opportunities to advance our mutual interests,” Kwan said at the Senate confirmation hearing.
“The United States and Belize share strong bilateral relations. Over one million tourists from the United States visit Belize annually and approximately 30,000 U.S. citizens live in Belize,” Kwan said.
“More than 85,000 Belizeans live in the United States. The roots of both our government and people-to-people ties run deep. Belize is a vibrant democracy with a commitment to upholding shared democratic values. Its geo-strategically important position bridges Central America and the Caribbean
She said that the United States and Belize have worked together as partners, praising Belize’s management of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Belize joined the United States on May 12th, cohosting the 2nd global COVID-19 Summit as the CARICOM Chair demonstrating the Government of Belize’s success in managing the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.
She also mentioned the Millennium Challenge Corporation which selected Belize to develop a five-year program as another example of working together. She said the Millennium Challenge Corporation partnership “can inject hundreds of millions of dollars to improve infrastructure, reduce poverty, and create a brighter future for all Belizeans”.
“I will work to strengthen cooperation with Belize on humane migration management and protection,” she added.
Kwan said the United States must work together with Belize to create new learning and economic opportunities. She also said she would encourage Belize’s ties with Taiwan.
“I’ll continue to encourage strong ties to Taiwan, a significant partner that shares our democratic values,” she said.
“The United States and Belize also have mutual interest in bolstering its energy sector which presents opportunities for US investment that can benefit both our countries.
“I plan to lean on my international experience to encourage robust educational, sporting, and other exchanges between the United States and Belize to enhance the bilateral relationship on all levels,” Kwan added.
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